16 Oct 2013
KAZAKHSTAN: Update - Pastor Under House Arrest Pending Trial
Pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev, who has been imprisoned for nearly five months in Astana, has been placed under house arrest for the remainder of his pre-trial detention, according to a court decision.
The 66-year-old pastor has not seen his wife, Alfiya, or other family members since his 17 May arrest.
While under house arrest, Kashkumbayev is 'banned from associating with anyone apart from close relatives living with him, receiving and sending letters, holding conversations with the use of any communication devices, and only able to leave his home for medical appointments.'
Pastor Kashkumbayev was arrested on charges of 'causing considerable harm to the psychological health' of a church member and was accused of using 'stupefying substances' on church members, a reference to the red tea used as a non-alcoholic Communion wine.
A church member insisted that Pastor Kashkumbayev 'is totally innocent and has not harmed my health at all.'The pre-trial detention is scheduled to last until 17 November.
Source: Forum 18 News
- Thank the Lord for the opportunity for Pastor Kashkumbayev to return home.
- Pray the Lord will intervene in this case to ensure a favourable outcome.
- Ask the Lord to strengthen the faith of Pastor Kashkumbayev, his family members and his congregation members.
IRAQ: Trusting God Amidst Escalating Violence
The following is an urgent update received recently from Canon Andrew White, known as the Vicar of Baghdad:
"I returned to Baghdad following a trip to the US and Canada. Whilst the trip was very good...when I arrived, I found things the most desperate they have ever been. The violence and murders have ascended to such levels that scores of people are being killed each day.... Things are so awful, the Lord is our only hope.
"Violence is all around us. Today alone, there have been 15 suicide bombs. Yesterday, there were even car bombs in the safety of the Kurdish city of Erbil. In the past day alone, one bomb at a funeral killed [at least 60] people. Most of what really happened has not even been on the news. Yesterday, I preached on the hope of the Second Coming. That is all we have to hold on to, for 'soon and very soon we are going to see the Lord.'
"It is so painful to have person after person come to me and say they have got to leave, including my son who has been with me since he was ten. With him leaving...I confess I thought, 'How on earth will I cope?' Then I remembered that (God) who has called me to this place will never fail me. As He remained with Daniel, so He will remain with me. You cannot leave those you love, and you cannot make those you love stay, when in reality you know how dangerous it is for them.... Thank you for standing with me in the midst of such pain. May God bless you much."
Sources: VOM Canada, BBC
- Pray Canon White and the remnant of believers in Iraq will be reminded that they are surrounded by God's mighty army of angels and, more importantly, His powerful presence.
- Pray that they will also be given opportunities to minister His hope, provision and healing to the unsaved, needy, bereaved, hurting, fearful and despondent.
- Pray the Lord will bring peace and stability to Iraq; commit to the Lord all those in authority in this nation.
16 Oct 2013
PAKISTAN: Prisoner's Accuser Recants
Zafar Bhatti, accused of blasphemy under Pakistan's 295C blasphemy law, was charged and jailed in July 2012, based on rumours that he insulted Mohammed's mother in text messages.
Zafar worked selling medicines, and he often went door-to-door with his presentation. He also used those opportunities to share Christ in the various homes, reading the Bible and praying with families. He also established a small NGO called 'Jesus World Mission' whose purpose was to assist the poor.
In jail, Zafar has been beaten several times. Someone also tried to poison his food. Several of the Muslim prisoners pressure him, saying if he accepts Islam he will be forgiven.
Good news! Zafar Bhatti's accuser has recanted. However, Zafar is not free yet. He cannot appear before the court and the judge because it's too unsafe for him to travel from the jail to the courthouse. In Pakistan, those accused of blasphemy often face mob justice, even when they are exonerated by the court system. Instead, Zafar must wait until the judge and lawyers involved can arrange to visit him at the prison. This may take some time.
Source: Voice of the Martyrs USA
- Thank the Lord the truth has come to light, pray Zafar will not have to wait too long for freedom.
- In the meantime pray the Lord will work through him to be the light of Christ to other prisoners.
- Pray the Lord will protect him from those who may wish to harm him.